EDMONDS — When the Edmonds-Woodway baseball team needed a clutch hit, junior Brett Stoneman delivered and sent the Warriors to state.
Perhaps he was just well rested.
Edmonds-Woodway head coach Dan Somoza called on Stoneman to pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh inning of Monday’s winner-to-state/loser out 4A crossover game between the Warriors, the third place team from District 1, and Redmond, the third place team from District 2. Stoneman made a genius out of his coach with an RBI double to right field that drove home Dominic Marinez and gave the Warriors a walk-off 3-2 victory over the Mustangs.
“The second he hit it you knew,” Somoza said. “That’s what’s so great about a team, you never know who’s going to step up. Today it was a guy who was on the bench and he came up and had the biggest hit.”
Somoza said he would have kept Stoneman on the bench had the Mustangs stayed with left-handed starting pitcher Brendan Ecklebarger. But after Ecklebarger hit Joey Rees with a pitch to lead off the inning, Redmond head coach Dan Pudwill replaced Ecklebarger with right-hander Milo Mincin. Mincin gave up singles to two of the first three batters he faced, with Chantz Justice’s RBI single driving in pinch runner Brady Edwards to tie the score at 2-2.
Right-hand hitting Brandon Mitchell was due up next, but Somoza wanted a left-handed bat to face the right-handed Mincin, so he turned to Stoneman.
The freshman’s double sent him and his teammates into a frenzy.
“I’m still speechless,” Stoneman said after the game. “From what I can remember, it was just pure exhilaration at first. The pressure was definitely on, but as soon as I stepped into (the batter’s) box I just cleared my head and had that mentality of sitting on a fastball and trying to drive it as far as I can.”
And that’s exactly what Stoneman did, just narrowly coming up short of a home run.
“He just crushed that ball,” Somoza said. “It was the biggest hit of the year.”
The Warriors lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to Lake Stevens in the District 1 semifinals and had to win two straight loser-out games to set up the meeting with Redmond.
“This team has been a resilient team,” Somoza said. “Earlier in the year we weren’t very good, to be honest. But they’ve just believed in themselves and worked hard. They’re a great group.”
Edmonds-Woodway scored first in the bottom of the fifth inning on a throwing error by the Redmond catcher. The Mustangs answered in the top of the sixth with an RBI single by senior Lucas Eliason and a sacrifice fly by senior Daniel Bies that scored Eliason.
After leaving several runners on base throughout the game, including coming up empty with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, the Warriors came through with the game on the line.
“In playoff baseball, against good teams, when they give you chances you’ve got to take advantage of that opportunity,” Somoza said. “We just weren’t getting that big two-out hit. Sometimes that’s the way baseball goes, especially in the playoffs. In the end, we got that big hit. That’s what counts.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Edmonds-Woodway H.S.
Redmond 000 002 0 — 2 8 4
E-W 000 010 2 — 3 9 0
Brendan Ecklebarger, Milo Mincin (7) and Lucas Eliason. Austin Whitehouse, Austinvaughn Jones (6) and Tate Budnick WP–Austinvaughn Jones. LP–Milo Mincin. 2B–Milo Mincin (R), Bryce Steckler (R), Kyle Francis (R), Brett Stoneman (E-W). Records–Redmond 18-7. Edmonds-Woodway 17-8.